Becoming someone else for Halloween is a lot of fun, but it can take a ton of tools to accomplish. An elaborate costume can require you to slather yourself in all kinds of makeup, paints, and glues, and putting it on is only half the work. The real fun starts when the party's over, and you have to remove it all.
Every product has different ingredients, so the way you wash it off will differ from one to another. Some are as easy as washing your face, and others may require you to use something a little more potent than water. But before you try anything...
As the FDA suggests, the best place to start is to read the label on a product and see if it has instructions for how to wash it off. If they tell you what to use on the bottle, that's probably your best bet. But some of them don't give you any hints as to what will remove that particular type of gunk from your skin.
As annoying as it is, going to bed in your costume makeup just isn't an option. A lot of cosmetics can cause breakouts or allergic reactions if they're left on for too long, and you don't want to wake up with a hangover and a ruined pillowcase.
Here are some general guidelines for how to clean yourself up at the end of the night.
Just like regular makeup, costume makeup can be really easy or almost impossible to wash off depending on what it's made of. Water-based paints are much easier to get off than oil- or grease-based paints.
Whatever type of makeup you're using, you want to be careful when you take it off so you don't stain your clothes, carpet or anything else. If you're using a washcloth, make sure it's an old one in case the makeup doesn't wash out.
Some cosmetics are made to come off with plain old soap and water. Before you try using any special removers or other products, wash your face as you normally do and see if that takes care of it. If it doesn't work or you still have some spots or streaks, you can use something else to take care of the more stubborn parts.
That's what they're made for, right? If you've already got a tub of cold cream or makeup remover or micellar cleansing water that you use for your regular makeup, it'll work on most types of Halloween makeup, too.
Grab some makeup remover wipes if you don't have any handy (these are especially useful if you want to get a head start on the scrubbing during the car ride or walk home).
Oil adheres to oil, so it's one of the easiest and most natural ways to take off face paint. Most homemade makeup removers have an oil base. You can use any kind of oil you happen to have any around (even baby oil — which is actually just scented mineral oil), but the best ones for your skin are coconut oil and jojoba oil.
If your skin is normally pretty oily, make sure to wash all the residue off when you're finished so you don't wake up with a greasy face.
If you don't have any actual makeup removing wipes, baby wipes will work just as well. They're especially useful for those with sensitive skin.
A little lotion on a cotton ball is great for removing makeup without drying out your skin. Any kind of lotion will work, but it's best to use on that's not greasy so you don't clog your pores. You can also use petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) instead, but make sure you wash your face thoroughly after to get rid of that gross-feeling residue.
Most glues can be removed from the skin using oil. If you used a pretty small amount of glue, it can often just be peeled off without interventions. If not, use a cotton pad to apply some baby oil or isopropyl alcohol. You may need to hold it on the skin to "soak" the glue for a minute or two before it breaks down enough to wipe off.
Believe it or not, Liquid Latex is made to come off with nothing more than soap and water. If you get it in your hair, you can just hop in the shower and shampoo it out. If you're lucky, you might be able to just peel it off.
Certain types of makeup will leave some color on your skin even after you remove them. Some suggest making a paste with baking soda and water to remove the pigment. While it's usually pretty effective, baking soda can make your skin extremely dry.
If you need to remove stains from a large area of skin, toothpaste is a milder alternative that won't irritate your skin. Just apply it to the stain and scrub lightly until it comes off, then rinse with cool water. Shaving cream is also great for taking stains off the skin, especially on larger areas or sensitive skin.
If you stain your costume or other clothes, it's a good idea to try soaking them in warm water for a few hours before washing to soften the stain, especially for thicker products like fake blood. Some brands will wash right out with regular laundry detergent, but you may have to use a stain remover on others. For oil-based stains, sprinkle on some baby powder to absorb the oil before washing.
Have any tricks for de-costuming at the end of the night? Let us know in the comments below.